In fact, they even affect how you perceive yourself. In a famous set of experiments, subjects who were primed with different elements of their identity actually performed differently on tests. Asian-American women who were primed with their ethnicity did better on math tests than the control group, and even better than those who were primed with their gender.
Your identity is your vector; it is a path defined by what you do and why you do it. By indicating your direction, it helps you define your available options. Like an old-fashioned newspaper reporter, your identity helps you sharpen your answers to the 6 Ws: Who, What, Where, When, Why, and hoW. What: What you stand for in the world.
How to Find Your Own Identity and Capitalize on it
You have to stand for distinct things, not platitudes. We are all moral agents, and we need to be thoughtful about what we stand for. Who: Who you stand with.
Whose networks do you belong to? Ironically enough, Paul is incredibly clear about whom he stands with; Paul is all about helping technologists and engineers have an impact on the world. How: How you manifest your identity. One of the reasons I chose to write this essay is that I believe writing is one of the best ways to help thoughtful people evolve their views.
Writing makes it clear what I stand for in a very public and shareable way. Where: Where you stand is also an integral part of your identity. Geography matters. If your identity includes becoming a successful software entrepreneur, you ought to be in Silicon Valley. Why: Why do you take a stand? We are moral actors in this world, and we should be conscious about the reasons we take a stand. I believe in a number of key principles that I apply to myself and the world at large: A world of diminished violence, reaching human potential, getting to truth through intellectual discourse, and universal civil rights that apply to all people, all cultures, and all societies.
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When: When do you act on your stance? When are you willing to take on risk, suffering, or pain?
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Coming up with these answers can be hard, even uncomfortable, but it is essential. Neither absolute flexibility nor inflexibility is a practical approach to life. Even someone as notoriously insistent on getting his way as Steve Jobs reflects this principle. Steve was inflexible on things like design and user experience, but he chose those things thoughtfully and with a purpose. A traditional group has a set of members, and is the same for each member. A network, on the other hand, is different for each individual. Unlike a community, networks can overlap while still being different.
When I meet someone new, like many, I look them up on LinkedIn. A stable sense of identity means being able to see yourself as the same person in the past, present, and future. In addition, a stable sense of self requires the ability to view yourself in one way despite the fact that sometimes you may behave in contradictory ways.
Your sense of self or identity is probably made up of your beliefs, attitudes, abilities, history, ways of behaving, personality, temperament, knowledge, opinions, and roles. Having a sense of identity serves many different functions. First, if you have a strong identity, it allows you to develop self-esteem. Without knowing who you are, how can you develop a sense that you are worthwhile and deserving of respect? In addition, a strong identity can help you to adapt to changes. While the world around you is constantly changing, if you have a strong sense of self, you essentially have an anchor to hold you while you adapt.
How DID Is Treated
Without that anchor, changes can feel chaotic and even terrifying. One of the symptoms of BPD listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM , the standard for diagnosing mental conditions, is identity disturbance , or a markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self. People with BPD often report that they have no idea who they are or what they believe in. Sometimes they report that they simply feel non-existent. Others even say that they are almost like a chameleon in terms of identity; they change who they are depending on their circumstances and what they think others want from them.
For example, you might find yourself being the life of the party at social events, but having a somber and serious demeanor at work functions. Of course, everyone changes their behavior to some degree in different contexts, but in BPD this shift is much more profound.
Many people with BPD say that in addition to behavior, their thoughts and feelings change to match the current situation. Identity problems in BPD are sometimes called identity diffusion.
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This refers to difficulties determining who you are in relation to other people. As a result, many people with BPD struggle to set up and maintain healthy personal boundaries and have difficulties in their interpersonal relationships. Unfortunately, there has been very little research on the identity problems associated with BPD, but there are many theories as to why people with BPD often struggle with identity.
For example, Marsha Linehan, Ph. Another potential factor is being able to think about the mental states of yourself and others regarding dreams, thoughts, emotions, and goals, known as mentalizing, which is difficult for those with BPD. However, most treatments for BPD include components that can help you to begin to discover who you are and what you stand for.
The first step in finding yourself is finding a good therapist who can help you work on identity problems. In addition, there are ways that you can work on identity issues on your own. You can begin to discover what you view as meaningful in your life. The act of categorizing and defining these areas can help you start on a path to discovering what's most important to you, which is a significant part of your identity.